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Monday, May 1, 2017

$1.5M in Counterfeit Goods Seized & 5 Arrested in Nassau County

Photo: Alyssa Reichel, Fern Ciraolo, Jack Huzarsky and Elsa Bonilla
Search warrants conducted Monday morning led to five arrests and the recovery of an estimated $1.5 million worth of counterfeit designer pocketbooks, watches, jewelry and clothing, law enforcement officials said at a Tuesday press conference.
Among the many items recovered during the Nassau County counterfeiting sting, a Hermes birkin bag, which retails for $21,000, was being sold for only a couple hundred dollars, police say.
The birkin, along with a Chanel bag were some of the fake designer items recovered from a Woodmere location. Alyssa Reichel, 49, of North Woodmere, was arrested for the second time for selling fake merchandise out of Ego Trip inside the Cheveux Day Spa and Salon, located at 964 Broadway, police say.

A Chanel bag, which retails for $3,000 to $4,000, and a birkin bag were being sold by Reichel out of a North Woodmere location for a couple hundred dollars each, police say.
The recovered goods, taken from locations in Hewlett, Woodmere, Syosset and Westbury, were being sold out of homes, businesses and cars, police say.
Fern Ciraolo, 53, of Hewlett Harbor, was arrested after police conducted a search warrant at her home. “When we executed that warrant, there was a strong odor of marijuana in the house,” Nassau County Det. Sgt. Patrick Ryder said.
Police say they recovered marijuana, MDMA and acid from the home.

Fern Ciraolo’s 21-year-old son, Justin Ciraolo, was arrested and charged with felony drug possession.

Justin Ciraolo via NCPD
Others arrested during the search warrants were Jack Huzarsky, 74, of Syosset, and Elsa Bonilla, 31, of Westbury. Police also conducted a search warrant in the Hempstead area, but the woman was not at home at the time. An outstanding warrant has been issued for her arrest.

Recovered goods from the Syosset location.
Recovered goods from the Syosset location.
Recovered goods from the Hewlett location.
Recovered goods from the Westbury location.
Recovered goods from the Hempstead location.
Selling fake merchandise is a nonviolent, “housewife” crime that isn’t normally viewed by the public as a serious crime.
However, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas says counterfeiting is not a victimless crime. In fact, counterfeiting is a felony and those convicted face up to four years incarceration.
Counterfeit products are often synonymous with child labor and deplorable conditions, officials say. Fake goods are not tested and may contain toxic materials. Fake electronic equipment have been known to explode or items that people put on their skin or lips have caused burns, Singas says.
Counterfeiting also costs American businesses, including mom and pop stores, more than $250 billion annually, Singas says.
Homeland Security Inspector Jason Molina says all the goods recovered from these search warrants will be destroyed.
“The holiday season is prime time for counterfeiters,” Singas said. “The message for consumers is to be vigilant and buy only from trusted retailers.”

How do you know if a good is counterfeit or not?

  • High-end brands do not sell their items out of cars, houses or on the street.
  • Check for stitching and the quality of the goods.
  • Logos may be blurred out or have subtle spelling errors, such as a "Bolex" watch instead of a Rolex watch.
  • “If it’s too good to be true, it is,” Singas says.
Fern Ciraolo was charged with two counts of second-degree counterfeiting. Huzarsky was charged with second-degree counterfeiting. Reichel was charged with two counts of second-degree counterfeiting. Bonilla was charged with four counts of second-degree counterfeiting.
All four who face counterfeiting chargers were issued a desk appearance ticket returnable at First District Court in Hempstead. Justin Ciraolo, who was charged with four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, will be arraigned Tuesday at First District Court.
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